Tags: Religion | GOP | candidates | courting | christians | declining | believers

USA Today: With Christianity Decreasing, Why Is GOP Courting Christians?

By    |   Wednesday, 17 Jun 2015 06:37 PM

USA Today is asking why Republican candidates for president keep promoting Christianity in their campaigns if the overall United States population of Christians is reportedly on the decline.

A recent Pew Research Center survey  said the number of Christians in America dropped from 78.4 percent of the overall population to 70.6 percent from 2007 to 2014, a change of nearly 8 percent.

During that same period, the number of Americans unaffiliated with any religion increased nearly 7 percentage points to 22.8 percent.

A USA Today story questions why GOP candidates are pushing so hard to both earn the Christian vote and showcase their Christian faith.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, for example, announced his candidacy for president in March at Liberty University, a Christian college in Lynchburg, Va. And Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who officially joined the race this week, visited Liberty University last month.

Nine GOP hopefuls for president attended the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition in April, while several of them will be at the Faith & Freedom Coalition's 2015 Road to Majority Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. Thursday, reports USA Today.

"People contacted us — 'Can I come?''' Faith & Freedom Coalition director Timothy Head told USA Today, alluding to the high interest GOP candidates had in appearing at the conference.

The newspaper cites data that say religiously unaffiliated Americans made up just 12 percent of voters in the 2008 and 2012 elections, despite now holding 23 percent of the total population share. And Barack Obama earned the support of 70 percent of that group in 2012, reports USA Today.

Evangelicals, according to USA Today, are a much higher-value group in terms of Republican voters. The report claims that 75 percent of them have leaned right in recent presidential elections.

This means that Republican candidates for president next year will have strike a delicate balance between looking good for Evangelicals and others far right of center, while at the same time appealing to a broader group of religious voters that might have some views, such as in social issues, that are more neutral or even considered liberal.

Another Pew survey, meanwhile, found that millions of people across the world are leaving the Christian faith. Islam is seeing big gains and could have more followers than Christianity sometime around 2070.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Republican candidate for president, said in April America is facing a "criminalization of Christianity."

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USA Today is asking why Republican candidates for president keep promoting Christianity in their campaigns if the overall United States population of Christians is reportedly on the decline.
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Wednesday, 17 Jun 2015 06:37 PM
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